How to Support and Prioritize your Mental Health at Work

How to Support and Prioritize your Mental Health at Work

It has never been more important to recognize mental health as an essential component to one’s overall health and wellbeing. After all, just over a year ago, none of us had any idea that all our worlds would be upended by the coronavirus, and that worry, isolation, overwhelm, depression and anxiety would become collective experiences shared by literally everyone.

We’ve all had to develop new practices, tools and ways of managing our mental health, but perhaps one of the most powerful things you can do is to talk openly about it. So we checked in with a few of our ZEOs to learn how they support and prioritize their mental health personally and professionally.

Akanksha Kaul, Technical Architect, Redwood City

Why has supporting your mental health become a priority for you?
Over a year ago I was introduced to Vipassana meditation, which means to see things as they really are. “Mindful breathing” brings you to the present moment and physically calms the vagus nerve. Within a week of starting my practice, my focus and productivity improved and so did my ability to stay more present in high-stakes situations. The more I practiced, the more I experienced the benefits: more patience, more compassion, and less anxiousness.

How do you personally support and prioritize your mental health and wellness?
I start my day by writing in my intention journal focusing on things like: “I intend to be more present throughout the day ” or “I intend to practice non-judgment.” I also meditate for 10-15 mins with my fellow ZEOs and I also “try” to focus on one task at a time before ending my day with a gratitude journaling where I reflect on the things I feel grateful for that day.

How do you bring these practices into Zuora?
I wanted to share the goodness of mindfulness with my co-workers and also hold myself accountable so I started a daily meditation session at Zuora. We use Headspace, a subscription meditation service Zuora provides to all ZEOs for FREE. The support I received from my manager, team and global ZEO community has been so heartwarming and encouraging.

What advice would you give to others?
Whatever step you want to take towards your mental health – meditation, mindful walks, seeking therapy, journaling – take that first step. Start where you are and find ways to hold yourself accountable either through friends, work community, or technology. Before you know it, it will snowball into a beautiful thing for you.

Ben de Groot, Principal Sales Engineer, London

How do you personally support and prioritize your mental health and wellness?
Exercise has a big impact on my mental health – the combination of just being outside and endorphin release improve it drastically. Delineating the work day from a personal evening can be hard when we’re all working from home, but a simple thing such as going for a 10-15 walk is a great way to transition.

Why has supporting your mental health become a priority for you?
20 years in the workplace and I have slowly learned to identify when I am starting to feel overwhelmed. Identifying this early on and focussing on my mental well-being both improves my personal life but also my productivity at work. If I haven’t had time to exercise for a few days I’m not fun to be around.

How do you bring these practices into Zuora?
Active commuting is a big benefit as it clears my head before and after the work day and it helps that Zuora provides showers and changing facilities at the office–which I look forward to using again soon. I also have the freedom to manage my workload so I can go for a run at lunch or complete a training session after work.

What advice would you give to others?
Find something outside of work that you can focus on and get enjoyment from. With always on technology and everyone working from home, it’s important And most importantly, when things are tough is to talk to people. I’ve got some great colleagues at Zuora that I can reach out to when I’m struggling. Talking about the challenges you are going through can really help.

Saloni Madhok, Campaign Specialist, Chennai

How do you personally support and prioritize your mental health and wellness?
I practice a few things in my daily life to stay on top of my mental health:

  • Stick to a routine: Even when working from home, I build my schedule as if I am going to the office. I work in short bursts with clear breaks which help maintain clarity of thought.
  • No Screen Saturdays: I try to avoid using technology “devices” on Saturday to detox from screens and instead, invest my time in cooking, reading, and playing with my daughter.
  • Gratitude Journal: I deliberately focus on the positive by writing down three positive thoughts every day about what I am grateful for in life.

Why has supporting your mental health become a priority for you? What got you started?
Coping with the responsibilities of a new mom, global pandemic, and self-isolation all in one year took a significant hit on my emotional and mental wellbeing. Like many people, my sense of resilience felt increasingly frayed. Luckily, my family and friends helped me overcome the situation and thereafter, I made a lot of conscious efforts to take control of my life.

How do you bring these practices into Zuora?
Our managers regularly check in and are proactive about introducing team policies like “No-Zoom Fridays,” or holding one hour for non-work activity. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) also ran amazing programs for ZEOs on building and nurturing a healthy mind along with how to identify and manage stress.

What advice would you give to others?
First, be realistic by setting healthy boundaries and prioritizing. Second, be true to yourself by taking a step back and assessing how certain things make you feel so you can identify your stressors and better react to the world around you. Lastly, make a conscious effort to feed your mind via meditation, praying and other relaxation exercises. Read books, write journals, eat good food and don’t forget to laugh.

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